Exceptional measures in PR application for asylum claimants who are frontline healthcare workers in Canada
Asylum claimants across Canada, who are healthcare workers on front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, can apply for permanent residency (PR) under a temporary measure announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Under normal circumstances, asylum claimants cannot apply for PR until their claims for asylum have been accepted by the Refugee Protection Division. However, under this temporary measure, claimants who are working on the front lines providing direct care to patients in health-care institutions will be able to apply for PR if they meet the criteria.
“The government recognizes the extraordinary contribution of asylum claimants working in Canada’s health-care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in long-term care centres. As these individuals face an uncertain future in Canada, the current circumstances merit exceptional measures in recognition of their service during the pandemic,” says Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
To qualify to apply for PR, individuals must have claimed asylum before March 13, 2020, were issued a work permit after they made a claim for asylum, and must have worked in the health-care sector in health institutions such as hospitals, long-term care homes, home care through an organization or agency, and assisted living facilities. They must also have worked in a designated occupation for not less than 120 hours between March 13, 2020, and August 14, 2020.
The designated occupations included in this special measure are orderlies, nurses, nurses’ aides and patient service associates, assistant orderlies and certain home support workers. In addition, the claimant must have six months of experience in the designated occupation before being granted permanent residence. Applicants will have until August 31, 2021, to acquire this experience.
Those who wish to reside in Quebec must have a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ). Quebec will select those qualifying for this special measure who wish to reside in the province.
The claimants must also meet all existing admissibility requirements, including those related to criminality, security and health. The application for PR through this special consideration will include in-Canada family members of the principal applicants as is with all applicants for humanitarian and compassionate consideration. This is in line with the Government of Canada’s commitment to family reunification.